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Evonik Further Expands Production Capacity for Gas Separation Membranes

By October 5, 2023 5   min read  (897 words)

October 5, 2023 |

2023 10 05 11 16 03
  • Group invests mid-double-digit million euro amount in Schörfling and Lenzing in Austria
  • Demand for sustainable membranes driven by renewable energy
  • Completion of the new plants scheduled for the first half of 2025

Schörfling/Lenzing, Austria. Evonik will further expand capacity for production of its SEPURAN® hollow fiber membranes in Schörfling and Lenzing, Austria. The specialty chemicals company already put into operation a new hollow fiber spinning facility in Schörfling at the beginning of the year. On the occasion of today’s ceremonial opening of this plant, Evonik Chief Executive officer Christian Kullmann announced the construction of a further production line: “We are going full throttle for the green transformation and are investing a mid-double-digit million euro amount as the next step to grow our membranes business.” Construction in Schörfling and Lenzing is scheduled to start in early 2024, with completion planned for the first half of 2025.

The growth of the membrane business clearly follows the Group’s strategy. “We invest in innovative green technologies that offer superior sustainability benefits to our customers,” says Kullmann. “The dynamic development of the membrane business shows that the green transformation is underway and that we are playing a key role in it.” By 2030, Evonik aims to increase the proportion of revenue generated by Next Generation Solutions to more than 50 percent from currently 43 percent. Next Generation Solutions are products with demonstrably superior sustainability benefits.

With membranes for the treatment of biogas and the extraction of hydrogen, for example, Evonik is making an important contribution to the defossilization of the energy industry. The trend towards renewable energy is driving the steadily growing demand in the membrane business.

At the heart of Evonik’s SEPURAN® membrane technology are fine hollow fibers made of a high-performance polymer specially developed by Evonik that is highly resistant to pressure and temperature. The upcoming capacity expansion includes construction of an additional plant for spinning hollow fibers and the expansion of the infrastructure necessary for producing membrane modules at the Schörfling site. The neighboring site in Lenzing will expand production of the required raw material (high-performance plastic).

“The planned production expansion for SEPURAN® membranes will create around 50 new jobs in Lenzing and Schörfling,” says site manager Jean-Marc Chassagne. “The investment strengthens the site’s importance on international markets. With the innovative technology from Upper Austria, Evonik is driving the global transformation toward a sustainable gas economy.”

Evonik’s production in Schörfling at the Attersee is already powered entirely by renewable energy. Nothing but green electricity from wind, hydropower, or biomass fuels the production facility for SEPURAN® membranes. Since the beginning of 2022, the specialty chemicals company is also covering 100 percent of its gas requirements with biomethane from regional production. By switching to environmentally friendly energy, Evonik is reducing its direct CO2 emissions in Upper Austria by around 5,000 metric tons a year.

Since the first products were presented in 2011, Evonik has steadily developed the SEPURAN® membranes business. Within twelve years, it became a globally recognized technology leader for efficient gas separation. To date, Evonik has supplied membranes to more than 1,000 reference plants worldwide for the biogas market alone.

SEPURAN® hollow fiber membranes can separate gases such as methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), and hydrogen (H2) particularly efficiently from gas mixtures. The advantage of Evonik’s membrane technology lies in the more precise separation of gases and in higher productivity. SEPURAN® N2 membranes for efficient nitrogen production are used, for example, for inerting aircraft tanks. SEPURAN® Noble membranes extract the hydrogen transported through the natural gas pipelines from the CH4/H2 gas mixture selectively at the H2 take-off points. SEPURAN® NG membranes enable efficient natural gas processing from sources with high CO2 concentration. SEPURAN® Green membranes enable efficient biogas upgrading from organic and circular substrates.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €18.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.49 billion in 2022. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable, and sustainable solutions for customers. About 34,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow.

About Smart Materials

The Smart Materials division includes businesses with innovative materials that enable resource-saving solutions and replace conventional materials. They provide smart answers to today’s major challenges: the environment, urbanization, energy efficiency, mobility and health. In fiscal 2022, the Smart Materials division generated pro forma sales of €4.83 billion with around 7,900 employees.

DISCLAIMER

In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.

 

Main Image caption: Evonik opens new membrane production facility in Schörfling, Austria: from left. Jean-Marc Chassagne, Site Manager of Evonik Fibres GmbH, Angelika Winzig, Member of the European Parliament, Christian Kullmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries AG, Thomas Stelzer, Governor of Upper Austria, Lauren Kjeldsen, Head of Smart Materials of Evonik Operations GmbH, and Gerhard Gründl, Mayor of the municipality of Schörfling am Attersee.

 

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